Museum Essay

Words: 1074
Pages: 5

Thuy Truong – 02390838
Professor Doyle
ARTH 103
November 17, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
One day when I was wandering around Bowers Museum, I came across nine oversized paintings shown in an exhibition made entirely by one extraordinary 69-year-old Buddhist monk in Nepal named Shashi Dhoj Tulachan, a second generation thangka artist living. The practice of thangka art has been around for centuries and is carried out by highly trained monks for the purpose of teaching about Buddha and the tenets of the Buddhist religion. The paintings attracted me because they were so big and colourful that I had to spend quite some time to fully absorb the beauty of the art. They are not thangka paintings in the traditional sense. Thangkas are
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This is an incredible artwork, considering the enormous size and intricacy to every little detail.
The main figure in this painting – Virupaksa – is one of the four kings who stood guard over the four cardinal points of the universe. Virupaksa is the Guardian of the West, representing the cardinal direction of the west in Buddhist cosmology. These guardian kings are always portrayed in amour. The attributes of this figure are a pearl shape and a snake. Virupaksa’s association with water and nagas – a magical creature that can change form between a human and a water snake – suggests his role of being a protector of water and water spirits. In my opinion, the painting illustrates how Virupaksa accomplishes his duty. With the help with the female servant and the elephant, Virupaksa is tempting to control the risen power of water demons, as depicted as the deluging ocean waves in the picture. His posture remains calm, but his facial expressions speak the opposite. His eyebrows are pulled together, the tension in his lips and mouth characterize the stressed emotion. Virupaksa is using the snake and the shape in his hands to gain strength to fight against the water demons. The pearl shape lights up with a yellow flame extending upward demonstrates that the power Virupaksa needs has arrived upon his wish. Multi-coloured flames encircle his head, indicating that the time has come to stamp out the rebellion of the demons. The female servant is offering him extra help